Long-life lures for rodents, possums and mustelids developed by Dr Helen Blackie are among the predator control tools selected for funding by Predator Free 2050.
A $3.5 million boost from the Provincial Growth Fund will go towards making New Zealand predator free by 2050. The extra funding will back five new tools designed to eliminate predators and help reduce repeated use of 1080.
The long-life baits aim to provide a cost-effective alternative to food-based baits that deteriorate quickly in the field.
“The lure is created using a solid-state, biodegradable plastic polymer block which goes through a treatment process to make it highly attractive and long-lasting,” says Helen. “Different treatments will be developed and tested to create a lure that’s as attractive as fresh bait and which will last for months at a time, vastly reducing labour costs associated with replenishing baits.”
Boffa Miskell chief executive Kerry Gupwell says, “Biosecurity was established as one of our core disciplines in 2017, and the team has gone from strength to strength. Helen has an impressive background in the development of innovative technologies and tools for wildlife management and biosecurity, and these skills make her a recognised leader both within Boffa Miskell, and throughout New Zealand.
“We’re proud of her accomplishments, and we look forward to partnering with Predator Free 2050 to continue development of this product, and in seeking further creative solutions in sustainable and effective predator control.”
The $3.5m has been set aside out of a total $19.5m investment from the Provincial Growth Fund. Predator Free 2050 Limited received 63 applications for new product developments and further design ideas are being assessed for funding.
Other projects receiving funding in this round include a number of self-resetting traps targeting rats, possums and stoats. Like the long-life lures, these traps aim to reduce the time and labour needed to maintain equipment in remote areas.
The new tools will be used in large predator control projects funded by Predator Free 2050 Limited, expand the range of options available for conservation managers and community groups around the country, and have the potential to reach global markets.
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said the tools were part of a wider shift from “suppressing predators to eradicating them.”
“I look forward to seeing the impact these new products have on enabling native wildlife to flourish.”
Additional products receiving funding will be announced in the New Year.
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For further information please contact Dr. Helen Blackie
22 November 2019